dating ATW 5: dating a traveller
I met a young friend on my trip who asked me for some relationship advice on how to get a girl. He told me the situation: they met while traveling, hooked up, then she decided to visit him when he was back in his home country a week later. But once she arrived, she acted differently towards him and would "shy away" when he tried to make a move.
“Maybe you can tell me what she’s thinking?”
As someone who's been traveling for two months now, I’ve had a handful of dates (and I guess you could say romances) here and there, but these micro-relationships are fleeting. Anything that’s too serious feels confining. One guy wanted to meet me again later in the summer and I told him “no” several times. I thought about my immediate reaction for a bit—committing to seeing someone again in several months felt a bit too much. Lots could happen in two months time, especially when you’re apart. Was I afraid of going to a new place? Did I not want to spend the money? Did I not want to be controlled by someone else's time constraints? Maybe it was some of these things, but I think it was simply because I didn’t him.
It’s easy to be drawn to someone from a first impression; maybe they’re physically your type or funny or easygoing or intelligent, or have the same taste in music, or maybe they are a combination of some or all these things. But romantic attraction is more complicated than just friend attraction, and I think we often conflate the two.
Speaking from personal experience as a solo traveler, you are more willing to talk to anyone who will talk to you. I think this girl mistook her attraction towards my young friend as a romantic attraction instead of a platonic one.
While I feel bad for my friend, I don’t blame this girl. There are many times in my life when I have done the same and dated or hooked up with people that ended up being more like friends than romantic partners and consequently stayed in relationships longer than I should have. You don’t always realize the difference right away.
Traveling adds a whole other level of complication to the equation. I offered my friend some possible explanations as to why this girl changed her mind: maybe she didn’t want to feel tied down; maybe it felt too intense for her; maybe she didn't want to lead him on and run the risk of hurting his feelings later down the line. Or maybe she just realized the attraction was not romantic after she booked her ticket to see him in Switzerland.
In the end, my friend confronted this girl about the weird vibes, and she told him she just wanted to be friends. It was confusing for him as there seemed to be a lot of mixed signals on her part. For now, it seems she doesn’t want to feel responsible for how someone else feels for longer than a few days. She wants to explore and see new places and learn about herself and not be influenced by someone else's perspective.
From the outside, it all just looks like a game. At the young age of 21, my friend tells me tired of playing. Aren't we all?